Backgrounds too, like bags, tripods, monopods, lights etc. (and most of this photography stuff) is such an individual preference, but like buying tires for your car it is often difficult to determine until tested, so…
CAVEAT EMPTOR - as many times with backgrounds, particularly the collapsible type (and many curtain type too) the colors or design you see may not necessarily be what you get; regardless, even using quality manufacturers. [a.k.a. what you see may not be what you get - because of dye lot shifts etc. even black sometimes isn’t black]. While there are many more experienced POTN users than I, my remark is founded based on many time-consuming (even frustrating) iterations with plain and colored/designed backgrounds and looking through hundreds of backgrounds from what seemed like almost every manufacturer on the planet!! Also, while your application is ¾ portrait, you may find that 5ft x 6ft while in lens/fstop calculation theory is ok (& considered adequate by many users, which is great); you may want to give serious consideration to the versatility of the slightly larger 6ft x 7ft (yet 40% more surface area i.e. 42/30 sqft) and the shooting freedom it enables, even if you are space constrained.
[I have both 5ft x 6ft and 6ftx7ft collapsibles and also found the collpapsible backgrounds with attached trains may tend to be somewhat wrinkly at the bottom].
IN SUMMARY - my message is: as a consumer just be aware and select carefully!
(I sense you are already a discerning shopper)
While I am a big fan of Lastolite and Westcott products - both quality manufacturers and most of their products a pleasure to use, I have found several of the Westcott’s curtain backgrounds somewhat thin and collapsible colored design backgrounds less than pleasing to the eye & particularly once photographed. The thinness is not unique to this one manufacturer and seems to be a common trait of many muslin manufacturers, unless using duck muslin. Lastolite has quality construction and favorable opaque without adding weight characteristic, but even several of their colored/designed backgrounds are also less than pleasing colored designs to the eye (again probably because of dye lot shifts or just my luck of the draw, with the ones that I received & have seen almost sickly looking in real life, with too much presence of brown tones for my preference) and I don’t think enhance a portrait. However, others like the colored tones/designs and find them appealing –individual preference/choices right.
In contrast, I have found Lasotiite’s plain color backgrounds (both collapsible & curtain types) to be excellent in every respect!!
Out of frustration I have resorted/concluded to the following strategy for portable backgrounds…
Collapsible and curtain backgrounds in black, white and medium grey(plain and subtle cloud design) using Lastolite’s & Westcotts’s products, which I just gel if want a colored background.
http://www.lastolite.com …eversible-backgrounds.php (then see/click on specifications tab)
Lastolite Collapsable 6ft x 7ft – what sounds like a large size, but once you use it a few times is actually very versatile and enables you to handle any application (including ¾ portraits of say approximately 1-4 people). Heck, I am only 5ft 2in so if I can fold one of these things up I most certainly believe you could! It will also stand on its own leaned against a wall etc., but as KOKAKASTE2(Oskar) & DRVNBYSOUND have indicated collapsible backgrounds are preferred (& necessary for 5x6) with a background stand. (I think Westcott and Lastolite background stands maybe sourced from the same supplier perhaps subcontractor and just each have their own branding/packaging, but I am not sure).
I find this a reasonably stable setup too
say with two Manfrotto 7.75 ft light stands [Mfr# 1052BAC]:
& one Manfrotto Adjustable Background Holder/crossbar [Mfr# 2983; which has a somewhat long closed length of 44”]:
which is the same as this Manfrotto Background Kit [Mfr# 1314B; which just also includes a nice carrying case]:
Lastolite Washable Curtain Muslin-"Washington" (a medium grey with cloud design; say in the 10x12ft, or 12x24ft):
-is excellent quality, very versatile and a pleasing subtle cloud design, when you want more than just a plain or plain colored background. It can be gelled almost any color in the rainbow. You can just fold the 10x12ft over to fit your available space, or light-weight enough to drape over a collapsible background, say for small children portraits on floor & when you want background & floor coverage. I find this Lastolite product much less wrinkly than other muslins.
Good luck with whatever you choose and hope you enjoy the ease & flexibility that a portable background plays in helping you control your photographic environment…
P.S. Nice equipment you have!